JAMES RATCLIFFE
SME Magazine Singapore|November - December 2020
RAGS TO CHEMICAL RICHES
JORDAN LOW
Covid-19 is an unprecedented disaster that has completely changed the way the world works, for better or for worse. For the better part of 2020, the pandemic has caused unimaginable damage and disruption to the world’s economy. No industry has been left unscathed. While some have fared better than most, and even a handful who are thriving amidst such a horrible business climate; all companies will at some point have faced some negative effects from the pandemic.

As mentioned, only a handful of businesses and industries have managed to thrive during this economically trying times. Those that have survived either have enough financial clout to pull through, the ability to adapt and transform digitally, or provide a service that is still in high demand despite the sharp drop in consumer spending. One example of such an industry is petrochemicals

Not too long ago, any businessperson who is even remotely familiar with the petrochemicals industry would most likely have thought the sector’s future prospects were not looking good. Despite their useful application in our everyday lives, the growing global realisation of the consequences of environmental damage has put new hurdles for the petrochemicals industry to tackle.

The topic of climate change first gained prominence in the mid- 1950s, and has since only grown. Concerted efforts have been made in order to ensure businesses and organisations limit the amount of pollution that their respective industries create. Plastics in particular gained an especially bad reputation due to its incredibly long lifespan and durability; which ironically is also technically why plastics are so useful. And since petrochemicals are heavily involved in the production of plastics, the sector has come under intense scrutiny as well.

In recent years, both the petrochemicals and plastics industries have been making efforts to limit their carbon footprint and waste production in order to conform to the environmental demands of both the public and governments. As such, growth for these industries has been less than stellar as of late.

However, The Covid-19 pandemic may bring with it opportunities that might elevate the industry back into prominence. In this edition of SME, we will be taking a look at one of the world’s largest and most prominent petrochemical companies, Ineos, and the man who built it from the ground up, Sir James Arthur Ratcliffe.

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